“Those who have mastered etiquette, who are entirely, impeccably right, would seem to arrive at a point of exquisite dullness.”
There is no debate that observing good manners and displaying deference are the socially acceptable things to do always; in a meeting, at a dinner or even with friends.
However, this is not to make a regimented situation out of every encounter.
If the visitors are gluttons, fine and if the MC was tactless, well the sun will still set in the west; the point is if it is not a life-threatening gaffe, everybody should maintain composure and not ruffle their feathers.
One of the reasons why perfection can be so imperfect is that the more the rigidity of the encounter, the more insincere it is.
Flaws occur naturally and are permitted in etiquettes so long as there is a remedial action to soften the effect of, if not reverse the gaffe.
It is better to be flawed in etiquettes and flawless in character than the other way around because etiquette is like an outward embellishment while character reflects the inside.
Once character is checked, etiquette can easily fall into place.
This is a reason why perfect gentlemen, if they really do exist, are to be related with cautiously because men that check all the boxes in this department turn out to be deeply flawed in character.
Even Hollywood can teach a thing or two about perfect gentlemen- they turn out to be the killers!
That’s on-screen though, but they are heartbreakers in real life.
If you must make a choice between etiquette and character, choose the latter; etiquette rules are easier to memorise than character is susceptible to positive change.
Much perfection ruins grace.